Brazil's National Spirit
Now Available Here
By Fred Delkin
They call it Cachaca (Ka-sha-sa) and this Brazilian cane sugar rum bids to be the next tequila in the American marketplace. Leblon is the label on a smooth, premium clear juice distilled in smalla batch copper pot stills and aged in used cognac casks. It should not be confused with the bulk industrial cane sugar disillate in lower-priced labels sold in Brazil.
Leblon has earned gold in international tasting competitions in London and San Francisco. It arrives with the advent of the Lenten season which stirs up the Carnaval festival in Rio and motivates all Samba dancers. We've concocted the Brazilian national cocktail, the Caipirinha (kai-pur-een-ya) with Leblon and understand this concoction's popularity south of our border.
Cut a large Lime into wedges, place 4 wedges in a squat glass tumbler. Add 2 tsps. of superfine Sugar. Mash Lime & Suagr into a slurry with a muddler. Fill the glass with ice, preferably crushed. Add 2 oz. of Leblon. Place a shaker oer the glass, shake well for 10 seconds. Pour shaker contents into the glass, garnish with a Lime wedge. Fresh Mint sprigs are optional.
Maison Leblon is in the state of Minas Gerais in the heart of Brazil's cane sugar region. Gilles Merlet, originally from the French Cognac region, has masterminded the Leblon effort. Hand harvested cane is trimmed to the heart of the stalk, then delivered to the Maison for pressing. Then the juice is fermented with yeasts for hours, then transferrd to the copper pot stills. Batches over the course of the harvest are blended for optimum taste and aroma. The Cachaca is finished with aging in vintage XO Cognac oak casks, then triple filtered prior to bottling. All this attention results in a superb rendering of what Brazilians claim is the world's third most consumed spirit. Creative cocktails are easy with this spirit...add such touches as Ginger, Cinnamon, Coconut Milk, fresh Citrus fruits
Recession Liquor choices
Not surpisingly, the OLCC reports liquor sales are at a record level in this economy. We urge tipplers to seek spirits that offer both quality and low price. Under $10/fifth examples include Sobieski Vodka from Poland, which is just as smooth as such luxury labels as Grey Goose, Absolut, Belvedere, Stolichnaya and Ciroc. If you enjoy a spiced Rum, seek out Lieutenant Dan, markedly lower-priced than Captain Morgan's, but the equivalent in quality.
Oregon's legislature is considering a serious markup on Beer taxation. We trust the leading lights in our microbrewing industry will lobby this proposal into extinction. We personally claim credit for lobbying a defeat of a congressional committee proposal, crafted by Oregon senator Bob Packwood to hike the tax on wine sales ( and this from a guy well-known for fuekling his would-be amatory adventures with California jug wine, a point we made with the Senator when we were the marketing honcho for the Oregon Wine Advisory Board).
© 2009 Oregon Magazine